School district committees address enrollment, construction projects

Meeting of the full ISD 518 school board is planned at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday.

District 518 brownhouse

WORTHINGTON — Independent School District 518’s instructional and operations committees each met earlier this week to discuss items to bring forth for next Tuesday’s 5:15 p.m. full board meeting in the high school media center.

As part of the instructional committee meeting, Superintendent John Landgaard suggested bringing forth a change in the school’s coaching structure for boys and girls golf. The request, from Athletic Director Josh Dale, is to combine the middle school and high school golf programs to be a 7-12 program, with one head and assistant coach for the boys and one of each for the girls. Landgaard said the request is due to a decline in the number of students enrolled in the sport.

Enrollment numbers rise

Landgaard also updated committee members on K-12 enrollment in the district. Projections for this school year were 3,359 students. As of Monday, there were 148 students at the Learning Center; 1,196 students at Prairie Elementary (plus 46 in Early Childhood Special Education); 344 students in VIBE, 1,064 students at the high school and 935 students at the middle school. Combined, the total enrollment is currently 3,733 students.

“We’re running pretty steady from where we’ve been,” Landgaard said, adding that the Learning Center was projected to have about 100 students and is above that amount, while the number of students in VIBE has remained about the same all year.

Learning Center Principal Doug Brands said the district is offering seven different night schools, and is also planning summer school this year. The night school program draws students not just from Worthington, but other districts as well.


Work session planned to discuss watershed project

During Tuesday morning’s operations committee meeting, it was decided to plan a board work session to discuss the possibility of working with the Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District on a water quality project on school property near the new intermediate school along Crailsheim Road.

Landgaard reported that the watershed district is at a standstill until they have confirmation from the school district and a defined area where a project could be completed. The watershed district intends to apply for grants to help fund the water quality project.

“The watershed has some priorities they would like to see; the school district has some priorities,” Landgaard said. “There are benefits to it — to the community and to the (school) district, whether it’s a learning center that could be developed, and for (water runoff and storage) for the athletic fields that may be located out there.”

Landgaard said he preferred to get the school board’s expectations and said there’s still a gray area that exists.

The consensus was to plan a board work session — sooner, rather than later — so that Landgaard can report back to the watershed district.

In other news:

  • Landgaard notified both committees of the upcoming process for interviewing the district’s new Director of Instruction. The closing date for applications is Friday, with interviews likely to be scheduled before the end of the month. As of Monday, Landgaard said there were six or seven applications for the position, none of which were from current district employees. The district will plan to interview three to four candidates.
  • Discussed the terminated lease between Minnesota West Community & Technical College and the Nobles County Integration Collaborative. Landgaard said that until the new Community Education building is ready, NCIC staff and programming will move back to the West Learning Center.

“We were hoping the lease would last until the community ed building is done, but they (the college) need the space for a new program,” Landgaard said.

  • Discussed moving ahead with the bid process for a section of roof at Prairie Elementary, and the parking lot at the middle school. Plans are to reroof the kindergarten/first grade pod this summer — the first of what will be a five-phase reroofing project on the building.

As for the parking lot, the district intends to have a new concrete parking lot constructed at the middle school.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the full board will hear a presentation on the district office remodel, storage shed and other construction projects.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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